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Here stopp'd the goddess; and in pomp proclaims A gentler exercise to close the games.

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Ye critics! in whose heads, as equal scales, I weigh what author's heaviness prevails;

Which most conduce to sooth the soul in slumbers,
My Henley's periods, or my Blackmore's numbers;
Attend the trial we propose to make:

If there be man who o'er such works can wake,
Sleep's all-subduing charms who dares defy,
And boasts Ulysses' ear with Argus' eye;
To him we grant our amplest powers to sit
Judge of all present, past, and future wit;
To cavil, censure, dictate, right or wrong,
Full and eternal privilege of tongue.'

Three college sophs, and three pert templars came,
The same their talents, and their tastes the same; 380
Each prompt to query, answer, and debate,
And smit with love of poësy and prate. 382
The ponderous books two gentle readers bring;
The heroes sit, the vulgar form a ring: 384
The clamorous crowd is hush'd with mugs
Till all tuned equal send a general hum.
Then mount the clerks, and in one lazy tone
Through the long, heavy, painful page drawl on;

of mum,


380 381 The same their talents,-Each prompt, &c.]

Ambo florentes ætatibus, Arcades ambo,
Et cantare pares, et respondere parati.'


382 And smit with love of poësy and prate.]

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Smit with the love of sacred song


384 The heroes sit, the vulgar form a ring.]
'Consedere duces, et vulgi stante corona.'



Soft creeping words on words the sense compose,
At every line they stretch, they yawn, they doze.
As to soft gales top-heavy pines bow low
Their heads, and lift them as they cease to blow;
Thus oft they rear, and oft the head decline,
As breathe, or pause, by fits, the airs divine.
And now to this side, now to that they nod,
As verse, or prose, infuse the drowsy god.
Thrice Budgel aim'd to speak, but thrice suppress'd
By potent Arthur, knock'd his chin and breast.
Toland and Tindal, prompt at priests to jeer, 399
Yet silent bow'd to Christ's no kingdom here.'400
Who sat the nearest, by the words o'ercome,
Slept first; the distant nodded to the hum. [lies
Then down are roll'd the books; stretch'd o'er them
Each gentle clerk, and muttering seals his eyes.

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397 Thrice Budgel aim'd to speak.] Famous for his speeches on many occasions about the South Sea scheme, &c. • He is a very ingenious gentleman, and hath written some excellent epilogues to plays, and one small piece on Love, which is very pretty.' Jacob's Lives of Poets, Vol. II. p. 289. But this gentleman since made himself much more eminent, and personally well known to the greatest statesmen of all parties, as well as to all the courts of law in this nation. W.

299 Toland and Tindal.] Two persons, not so happy as to be obscure, who writ against the religion of their country. Toland, the author of the Atheist's Liturgy, called "Pantheisticon,' was a spy in pay to Lord Oxford. Tindal was author of the Rights of the Christian Church, and Christianity as old as the Creation. He also wrote an abusive pamphlet against Earl S-, which was suppressed while yet in MS. by an eminent person, then out of the ministry, to whom he showed it, expecting his approbation. This Doctor afterwards published the same piece, mutatis mutandis, against that very person.


400 An allusion to a famous sermon of Bishop Hoadley's.

As what a Dutchman plumps into the lakes,
One circle first and then a second makes,
What Dulness dropp'd among her sons impress'd
Like motion from one circle to the rest:
So from the midmost the nutation spreads,
Round and more round, o'er all the 'sea of heads."
At last Centlivre felt her voice to fail; 411
Motteux himself unfinish'd left his tale;
Boyer the state, and Law the stage gave o'er;413
Morgan and Mandeville could prate no more; 4'4




-Centlivre.] Mrs. Susannah Centlivre, wife to Mr. Centlivre, Yeoman of the Mouth to his Majesty. She writ many plays, and a song (says Mr. Jacob, vol. i. p. 32) before she was seven years old. She also writ a ballad against Mr. Pope's Homer, before he began it.


413 Boyer the state, and Law the stage gave o'er.] A. Boyer, a voluminous compiler of annals, political collections, &c. William Law, A. M. wrote with great zeal against the stage; Mr. Dennis answered with as great. Their books were printed in 1726.


414 Morgan.] A writer against religion, distinguished no otherwise from the rabble of his tribe than by the pompousness of his title, of a Moral Philosopher.


414 - Mandeville.] Author of a famous book, called The Fable of the Bees; written to prove, that moral virtue is the invention of knaves, and Christian virtue the imposition of fools; and that vice is necessary, and alone sufficient to render society flourishing and happy.


410 O'er all the sea of heads.]

A waving sea of heads was round me spread,
And still fresh streams the gazing deluge fed.'





Norton, from Daniel and Ostroa
Bless'd with his father's front and mother's tongue,
Hung silent down his never-blushing head,
And all was hush'd, as Folly's self lay dead.4


Thus the soft gifts of sleep conclude the day, And stretch'd on bulks, as usual, poets lay. Why should I sing what bards the nightly Muse Did slumbering visit, and convey to stews: Who prouder march'd, with magistrates in state, To some famed round-house, ever-open gate! How Henley lay inspired beside a sink,

And to mere mortals seem'd a priest in drink : While others, timely, to the neighbouring Fleet (Haunt of the Muses) made their safe retreat?


415 Norton.] Norton de Foe, offspring of the famous Daniel; Fortes creantur fortibus; one of the authors of the Flying Post, (in which well-bred work Mr. P. had sometimes the honour to be abused with his betters), and of many hired scurrilities, and daily papers, to which he never set his



418 And all was hush'd, as Folly's self lay dead.] Alludes to Dryden's verse in the Indian Emperor :

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All things are hush'd, as Nature's self lay dead.'



After the other persons are disposed in their proper places of rest, the goddess transports the king to her temple, and there lays him to slumber with his head on her lap; a position of marvellous virtue, which causes all the visions of wild enthusiasts, projectors, politicians, inamoratos, castlebuilders, chemists, and poets. He is immediately carried on the wings of fancy, and led by a mad poetical sibyl to the Elysian shade; where, on the banks of Lethe, the souls of the dull are dipped by Bavius, before their entrance into this world. There he is met by the ghost of Settle, and by him made acquainted with the wonders of the place, and with those which he himself is destined to perform. He takes him to a mount of vision, from whence he shows him the past triumphs of the Empire of Dulness; then, the present; and, lastly, the future: how small a part of the world was ever conquered by science, how soon those conquests were stopped, and those very nations again reduced to her dominion. Then distinguishing the island of Great Britain, shows by what aids, by what persons, and by what degrees, it shall be brought to her empire. Some of the persons he causes to pass in review before his eyes, describing each by his proper figure, character, and qualifications. On a sudden the scene shifts, and a vast number of miracles and prodigies appear, utterly surprising and unknown to the king himself, till they are explained to be the wonders of his own reign now commencing. On this subject, Settle breaks into a congratulation, yet not unmixed with concern, that his own times were but the types of these. He prophesies how first the nation shall be overrun with farces, operas, and shows; how the throne of Dulness shall be advanced over the theatres, and set up even at court; then how her sons shall preside in the seats of arts and sciences; giving a glimpse, or Pisgah sight, of the future fulness of her glory, the accomplishment whereof is the subject of the fourth and last book.

BUT in her temple's last recess enclosed,
On Dulness' lap the' anointed head reposed.

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